Research Highlight

Graphene, DNA-based hybrid material for gene therapy

doi:10.1038/nindia.2016.70 Published online 30 May 2016

By using DNA, doped graphene and magnetic nanoparticles, researchers have synthesized a hybrid material that is potentially useful for delivering genes and anticancer drugs to cancer cells1.

DNA-based hybrid materials are promising for their potential applications in molecular sensing, intelligent drug delivery, programmable chemical synthesis, bioanalysis and biomedicine. Hybrid materials made of carbon nanotubes and DNA are promising for gene therapy, but few studies have investigated hybrids consisting of graphene and DNA.

To make a hybrid material using graphene and DNA, the researchers dispersed DNA, nitrogen-doped graphene and ferric oxide nanoparticles in a solvent.

The DNA in the hybrid material retained its structural integrity for a long time. The doped graphene imparted mechanical and thermal stability, while the ferric oxide nanoparticles contributed to the magnetic properties of the hybrid material.

The hybrid material was non-toxic to cultured mammalian cells and did not inhibit their growth, indicating that it is biocompatible and may be useful for fabricating extremely tiny drug carriers.

“Since the hybrid material is versatile and non-toxic to mammalian cells, it is potentially useful for tissue engineering and cancer therapy,” says lead researcher Kamalesh Prasad.


1. Bhatt, J. et al. Synthesis of functionalized N-doped graphene DNA hybrid material in a deep eutectic solvent. Green Chem. (2016) doi: 10.1039/C6GC00853D